Begin Main Content Area

Request for Applications

Strategic Approaches To Using Higher Education To Build Quality Practices In Child Care Settings

Applications due August 12, 2019 5:00 p.m.

Strategic Approaches to Building High Quality Practices in ECE Settings

Guidelines have been established to ensure ECE professionals have access to degrees that are grounded in the most recent research around children's learning and development. To increase access to these high quality and relevant degrees, institutions of higher education (IHEs) must deliver content responsive to the needs of the ECE workforce. These guidelines provide direction to developing and/or strengthening systems that result in advancing curriculum focused on child development and instructional practices for young children.  The skills, knowledge, competencies, and needs of the ECE workforce must drive the curriculum and structure of programs that increase the attainment of industry-recognized credentials or competency-based equivalents: 

  • A credit-bearing Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate;
  • An associate degree;
  • A bachelor's degree; and/or
  • A Pennsylvania ECE PreK-4 instructional certificate.  

Applications submitted in response to these guidelines are limited to Higher Education Institutions working to build and sustain high-quality, cross-systems relationships among and between high schools, two-year and four-year IHEs that serve Pennsylvania's ECE programs.  Applicants may propose to do one or more of the following four activities:

  1. Institutionalize changes in CDA, associate degree, bachelor's degree, and ECE teacher preparation certification programs to closely align with the knowledge, skills, and pedagogy required for the ECE workforce by engaging in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Higher Education Accreditation process.
  2. Increase IHE capacity to meet the needs of the ECE workforce by specially-designing courses related to: Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood Infant and Toddlers and Pre-Kindergarten, ECE subject matter with a particular focus on infants and toddlers, developing knowledge and skills for educating young children whose primary language is not English, are not part of the dominate culture, and children who have special needs or come from vulnerable populations; teaching very young children with persistent challenging behaviors;
  3. Design and institute stackable credentials or micro badging that leads to a CDA;
  4. Enhance articulation agreements to ensure alignment with PDE's Program to Program Transfer Articulation Oversite Committee (TAOC). Establish a foundation for best practices with the IHE partners on this grant; and
  5. Create systems and structure to ensure teacher competence and the fidelity of implementation of effective practices by student teachers or apprentices.

IHEs are expected to implement innovations developed under these guidelines beyond the term of the grant award.  A written report consisting of both quantitative and qualitative information will be requested after the first year of program implementation. 

Approximately $2.4 million is available to implement multiple regional and/or statewide partnerships.  Grant requests may not exceed $250,000, and grantees may apply for multiple partnerships. Funds for this grant are made available from the Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 Initiative (PDG B-5), from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Awards issued under these guidelines will be valid through December 30, 2019.  Funding is contingent upon conditions such as the appropriation of funds by the USDE, approval of a no cost extension by the USDE, no change in priority emphasis by the USDE or OCDEL, and a fully executed contract/MOU. 

PDG RFA Higher Education Grants July 2019 (PDF)